NTSB Determines Cause of Indiana Plane Crash That Killed Purdue Student

by nph | July 29th, 2011

Rescue personnel work to extricate a man trapped in the wreckage of a vintage airplane that crashed Feb. 15 near Americus

Rescue personnel work to extricate a man trapped in the wreckage of a vintage airplane that crashed Feb. 15 near Americus

July 29, 2011

Investigators have determined that pilot error caused the plane crash that took the life of a Purdue University student near small town Americus, Indiana, in February 2011.

The vintage plane—a 1942 Taylorcraft DCO-65 single-engine—went down nose first into a wooded area, slamming into the snow-covered ground on the afternoon of February 15. Rescue crews labored to extract the pilot and passenger and transport them from the crash site, located near Goldsberry Road along the Tippecanoe River.

The passenger—a 22-year-old male from Sheridan, Indiana—suffered internal injuries and a broken wrist in the crash. The 24-year-old pilot from Fort Wayne, Indiana, died on February 26 at an Indianapolis hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.

Now a probable cause report from the National Transportation Safety Board asserts that the plane crashed because of “the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall … there was no evidence of mechanical malfunction or failure with the engine or airframe.”

The plane had last been inspected in October 2010.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro told Lafayette Journal & Courier that interviews, maintenace records, and physical evidence “have to be then pulled together. With a fatality, we gather all that information and then pass it along the NTSB and it’s the NTSB that’s in charge of the investigation.”

Read more.

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Photo courtesy of Lafayette Journal & Courier